Jones shutout key to New Orleans victory

 
Steve Baumohl
Chicago Bears vs New Orleans Saints
New Orleans’ Marshon Lattimore will be crucial against Atlanta (Source: Getty)

RedZone Sports’ Steve Baumohl with his best bets for this week’s NFL action

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Friday 1.25am

New Orleans and Atlanta square off in the first of two meetings within the next three weeks.

This will be a good game, but one match-up that should go a long way in determining the outcome is Julio Jones versus Marshon Lattimore.

The Saints’ cornerback has been nothing short of sensational this year and now faces his toughest test in shadowing Jones.

When Jones is targeted more on first downs and deep passes, Matt Ryan can move the ball more efficiently and it helps other Falcons’ receivers to get open.

However, we saw last week what a good cornerback, in Xavier Rhodes, can do to Jones and I’m expecting Lattimore to make his and Ryan’s life uncomfortable.

The Saints’ defense is not a juggernaut like Philadelphia’s or Minnesota’s but when both cornerbacks play, they can bring more pressure and stack up the box.

On the other side, Atlanta are nearly giving up 4.5 yards-per-carry and that doesn’t bode well when you’re about to face the two-headed monster of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

This could be a shootout, but the return of Lattimore could prove crucial in the final result.

Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday 9.25pm

This is a horrible spot for Seattle. Yes, they played well against the Eagles but as we alluded to last week, that was a bad spot for Philadelphia.

It’s never easy to play in Seattle in a night game. The Seahawks, now must travel to the east coast knowing they have a huge divisional game on deck.

Jacksonville has the best pass rush, the top corner and safety tandems, are only allowing opponents to 5.8 yards per pass attempt and an average quarterback rating of 65.6.

This again comes down to Russell Wilson. He can make any play into a game changer. However, this week, I just can’t see him getting away and making these highlight plays. The Jaguars play disciplined coverage so anytime Wilson scrambles, he will not get Doug Baldwin or Paul Richardson breaking free.

The Seattle offensive line is still weak, and I expect it to get overpowered by Calais Campbell and Co.

Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday 9.25pm

I think Philadelphia will come out more focused for this game than they did against Seattle. I also think they were the better team but were outdone by exceptional quarterback play and some awfully bad luck.

Meanwhile, I don’t think the Rams’ performance against the Cardinals was as good as the final score indicates.

If the Cardinals had a better quarterback, they would have taken advantage of some blown coverages by the Rams.

Jared Goff has been playing well but if you need a Wilson-esque performance to beat Eagles, I’m not sure Goff will be able to duplicate it.

He needs wide open receivers and time by trusting his offensive line to hold up. The three games he struggled in this year were against the Seahawks, Vikings and Jaguars – three top 10 defences that are able to generate intense pressure with just their front four.

I expect Philadelphia to win the battle in the trenches. They will shut down Todd Gurley and the run game and force Goff to make throws into tight windows.

POINTERS

New Orleans win v Atlanta 4/5

Jacksonville -3 v Seattle 20/21

Philadelphia win v LA Rams 11/10

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.